Jordan Pickford and Jarrad Branthwaite came up clutch for Everton as they held Chelsea to a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge on Thursday night.

Chelsea went into the game without a natural centre-forward as Romelu Lukaku, Timo Werner, and Kai Havertz were unavailable. Nonetheless, they made a good start with Reece James and Mason Mount getting early chances, but they failed to hit the target. Hakim Ziyech, Christian Pulisic and Mount then forced Jordan Pickford into saves before he was again called into action close to half-time by the Blues’ academy graduate.

Everton continued to hold on after the break even as Chelsea tried to find the elusive goal. And the deadlock was finally broken in the 70th minute when Mount lifted the ball past Pickford and into the net after being sent through by James. However, the lead lasted just four minutes as Jarrad Branthwaite did brilliantly to turn home an Anthony Gordon free-kick to draw Everton level.

Chelsea pushed for a winner and almost found one, but Pickford was at hand to deny Thiago Silva as Rafa Benitez’s men saw out the rest of the game in a professional manner to return with a point despite having to make do with a largely depleted squad. As for Chelsea, they lost crucial ground in the title race, with both Liverpool and Manchester City winning their midweek fixtures comfortably.

Thomas Tuchel’s side are now four points off the top of the table while Everton sit in 14th place, eight points clear of the relegation zone. The Hard Tackle takes a look at how both sets of players fared on the night at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea Player Ratings

Edouard Mendy: 6/10

A quiet outing for the Senegalese international, who did not have much to do as Everton did not pose much of a threat for most of the game. Mendy could do little to stop Branthwaite’s equaliser late on.

Cesar Azpilicueta: 6/10

Retained in the side, the Chelsea skipper had a fairly comfortable outing as Everton weren’t very enterprising going forward. Azpilicueta did what was needed of him at the back and pushed up when in possession to help his team stay in control.

Thiago Silva: 7/10

The veteran Brazilian did not have much defending to do but was alert when needed. His tackle on an Everton player started the move for Mount’s goal in the second half. Silva almost managed to win it for Chelsea late on but was denied by Pickford.

Antonio Rudiger: 7/10

Even as speculations over his future rumble on, Rudiger put in another solid display against Everton. Like his partners, the German did not have a lot of defensive work to do and found himself charging up the field on every given occasion. He even created a good chance for Mount in the first period, but Pickford stopped the latter from scoring.

Reece James: 7.5/10

The Chelsea academy graduate was a thorn in the side for Everton as they could not deal with him for most of the game. James drifted inside regularly from the right, and his movement caused the visitors problems while he also managed to create several chances, even assisting Mount for his goal. However, he should have done better with an opportunity early in the game.

Jorginho: 7/10

The Chelsea midfield maestro was his usual self in the middle of the work, winning back possession in good areas and starting attacks with some lovely passes forward. Jorginho helped the team control the proceedings and dictate the tempo with ease. However, he grew frustrated in the later stages and misplaced a few passes as the Blues pressed for a winner.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek: 5/10

Getting another start in a deeper midfield role, the Chelsea academy product failed to stamp his authority on the game again. He had a few good touches and made some forward runs, but the quality of the final ball was lacking as he failed to break open the Everton defence. Loftus-Cheek was taken off in the second half as the team searched for more attacking impetus. Booked.

Marcos Alonso: 6/10

Untested in defence, the Spaniard was afforded the time and space to get high up the pitch on the left side and did so, producing several cutbacks into dangerous areas, only for his teammates to fail to put them away. However, Alonso faded with time and made way for Saul Niguez in the second period.

Hakim Ziyech: 7/10

Coming into the lineup, Ziyech made a very lively start to the contest as he constantly found space in the final third and played some neat passes to create chances for the likes of Pulisic and Mount, while he also forced Pickford into a save. The Moroccan did fade a bit after the half-time break, although it was his cross that set Silva up for the late chance that was saved.

Christian Pulisic: 6.5/10

Playing through the middle, the USMNT international was off to a bright start and created a couple of decent chances and had a shot saved by Pickford. His pace and movement in the final third kept the Everton backline occupied, although Pulisic’s influence waned with time.

Mason Mount: 8/10

The Chelsea academy graduate looked the likeliest to make things happen on the night as he constantly got into dangerous positions. Mount fired an early chance wide and then forced a couple of stops from Pickford. However, he did get his goal in the second half, with a good finish from close range. Should have scored more, though.

SUBSTITUTES

Ross Barkley: 4/10

He replaced Loftus-Cheek in the 65th minute. Slowed down moves, conceded possession easily.

Saul Niguez: 4/10

Came on for Alonso for the final 25 minutes. He was asked to play in an unfamiliar position at the top and looked out of sorts. Failed to deal with Gordon’s free-kick leading to the equaliser.

Trevoh Chalobah: N/A

Late sub for Azpilicueta.

Everton Player Ratings

Jordan Pickford: 8/10

He came up clutch for Everton when they needed him as he made several key stops on either side of half-time to keep his team in the contest. Pickford denied the likes of James, Mount, Pulisic, Ziyech over the course of the first 70 minutes but was well-beaten by his England teammate. He then made a huge save to deny Silva a winner after Branthwaite’s equaliser.

Jonjoe Kenny: 5.5/10

Making his first Premier League start of the contest, the Everton right-back did not have the most comfortable outing. Kenny was shaky at the back, especially in the early stages, although he grew into the game with time. But he hardly offered anything going forward on the right flank.

Mason Holgate: 5/10

The 25-year-old never really looked comfortable from the off and was easily turned over by the Chelsea forwards time and time again. He was booked for a foul on Ziyech in the first period. Holgate did improve as the game wore on, however.

Michael Keane: 7/10

Captaining the team on the night, the Everton defender organised the backline fairly well for most of the game, ensuring that Chelsea had to work hard to carve out openings. Keane also made a few important interceptions throughout the contest to keep his team alive.

Jarrad Branthwaite: 8/10

The 19-year-old started his first league game of the season and was solid and composed under intense pressure from Chelsea, especially in the first half. Branthwaite then popped up with the biggest moment of the game for Everton, turning home Gordon’s free-kick to level things up and salvage a point for his team.

Ben Godfrey: 5/10

Playing in an unfamiliar left wing-back role, the Everton defender could not get to grips with Reece James, especially in the first period. After the break, there was some improvement, with Godfrey even making a few forward runs, but he was caught out of position for Chelsea’s game.

Alex Iwobi: 5/10

Handed a start in the absence of several regulars, the former Arsenal star worked his socks off for the team, offering constant defensive support on his flank. However, Iwobi was guilty of wasting a few decent counterattacking opportunities, one of which could have led to a great chance for Abdoulaye Doucoure in the second half.

Abdoulaye Doucoure: 6.5/10

Full of energy and purpose in the middle of the park, Doucoure tried to put pressure on the Chelsea players when not in possession and drove forward with the ball when given a chance. However, his mishit pass sparked the move for the hosts’ goal in the second half.

Andre Gomes: 5/10

Coming in for the unfit Allan, the Portuguese midfielder struggled to get to grips with the contest, especially in the first period, even though there was no lack of effort on his part. He helped out defensively and put in the hard yards but was not effective enough on the ball.

Anthony Gordon: 7/10

The youngster showed a lot of purpose and intent on the night and looked to drive at the Chelsea backline when he got on the ball. Gordon then set up the equalising goal for Branthwaite with a lovely free-kick.

Ellis Simms: 5/10

The 20-year-old made his Premier League debut on the night but was starved of service all game-long. He did press well at the top and tried to hold up the ball without making much of an impact.

SUBSTITUTES

Lewis Dobbin: 5/10

On for Simms a little after the hour mark. Worked hard off the ball but was booked for a dive.

Jean-Philippe Gbamin: 5/10

A rare appearance for the injury-prone midfielder. Looked off pace.

Tyler Onyango: N/A

Late sub for Gordon.

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